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Heart & Soul Blog

Thoughtful Thursday: Girls Not Brides

Alyson Campbell

“Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 600 civil society organizations committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential.”

About Child Marriage: Where Does it Happen? 

Child marriage is a global problem that can be found across every country of the world, from South America to Asia. Out of the 20 countries with the highest rate of child marriage, Niger leads in first at 76%, Central African Republic and Chad follow right behind at 68%, and Bangladesh follows at 65%. 

Girls Not Brides predicts that if there is not enough serious change made to this problem, the global number of child brides will reach 1.2 billion by the year 2050, which means one in every three girls are said to be forced to wed before they turn 18, which also means that 28 girls every minute are married off before they reach 18 years old – some child brides are as young as 8 years old. It’s not hard to see the deeper festering problems here. This global issue puts young girls’ futures, education, safety, health, and human rights in jeopardy.

According to the Girls Not Brides website, “Pregnancy and childbirth complications are among the leading causes of death in girls ages 15 to 19 in low-and middle-income countries.”

Why Should We Act Now?

Well, for starters, it’s illegal. If that’s not enough, know that already more than 700 million women in the world today were victims of child marriage before they turned 18. That also makes up 10% of the world’s population.

What Do Girls Not Brides Do?

This organization has developed a “Theory of Change” to demonstrate how many different approaches and solutions are required to properly address child marriage, and emphasize that everyone plays a part in this process. The Theory of Change shows us four main areas that need the most of our efforts: empowering girls, mobilizing families and homes, providing services, and establishing and implementing laws and policies. 

Girls Not Brides works directly with young girls to create a supportive inner network and to help them understand and exercise their basic human rights. The organization has also created Safe Space Programs where young girls can meet friends, connect with teachers and learn fundamental life skills that will provide real opportunities for them. Through these programs young girls have the opportunity to learn about health, finances, and other practical life lessons that will give them a chance to live their life freely.

 Members and community activists of Girls Not Brides

Members and community activists of Girls Not Brides

Just up until a few years ago the subject of child marriage was not an issue widely discussed. Now, with the continuous efforts of Girls Not Brides and their partnerships with literally hundreds of organizations and communities around the globe, child marriage has become a topic of discussion on international and regional levels that demands attention to find lasting solutions.

“We have made great strides in reducing child marriage rates globally, but progress is too slow,” said the Executive Director of Girls Not Brides, Lakshmi Sundaram, according to the website.

The organization now pushes for immediate action from governments to develop action plans to end child marriage, to establish strict laws that will set the minimum marriage age to 18, to provide decent health, education and services to prevent families from forcing child marriage, and simply to protect women’s and young girls’ rights.

Interested in taking action? Visit http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/the-partnership/what-we-do/ to learn more about how you can get involved to help make change.

Visit http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/news/ to learn more about Girls Not Brides partnerships and powerful campaigns.

 

Happy Thoughtful Thursday!

With love,

The Heart & Soul PR, Inc. Team